Once Upon A Star Review – A generic biopic with a unique underdog story

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: October 12, 2023 (Last updated: January 25, 2024)
Once Upon A Star Review - A generic biopic with a unique underdog story


A by-the-numbers biopic with a unique story about a live-dubbing troupe in the movie industry trying to live out their dream by bringing cinema to the people.

The actors who dub films need to vocally prepare themselves to match the expressions on screen, which means studying the actors and in a way, becoming them. Once Upon A Star is a Netflix biopic that highlights the lives of a pharma-cinema troupe as they take the dub one step further and do it live in front of an audience.

If you’re a fan of the movie-going experience, then you know multiple components go into the making of a film. It’s not just the actors, the director, or the writers, it’s every single person on that set. Everyone comes together for pre and post-production to give audiences a wonderful experience.

Even the films that have been dubbed in a different language have made the movie-going experience possible for everyone around the world. Movies should always be a communal experience because of the feeling of watching a film for the first time with other people. You’re sharing that bond even though your opinions may be subjective.

Once Upon A Star review and plot summary

Like any group with a dream, the pharma-cinema troupe has to struggle with limited resources. Not only do they not have the best equipment, but they also dub the voice of the female characters in the film. Which, naturally, would turn off audiences because it’s not authentic. It is an all-male group and Manit, Man, and Kao want to be something more.

They are tired of people laughing at them when they work so hard to take this show on the road. Live dubbing is difficult because they have memorized the lines ahead of time and have to match the dub with what the audience is hearing in real-time. So when a male voice is being heard instead of a woman’s, the audience is pulled out of the film.

The group then decides to recruit a woman who also dubs. They hired Rueangkae and worked with her to create a new synergy among the group. Now with a woman on board, audiences take a liking to their new dynamic, but it does shift within the group.

Rueangkae changes the group because two of the members start to fall for her. The two men ruin their long friendship because of her, and she won’t have any of it. While that is happening, their rival troupe gives them a run for their money, which causes even more competition.

Is Once Upon A Star A Good Biopic?

Here’s the thing with Once Upon A Star — it’s a very generic biopic. It goes by the numbers even with the humour added. It should be unique because of the story, but it just simply coasts by. The more memorable aspect is the score and the way Rueangkae is introduced.

Director Nonzee Nimibutr has fun with these characters when they are performing and the live dub is engaging for viewers as well, but the conflict doesn’t meet it halfway. Two men fighting over a woman and almost losing their friendship over her is a tired triangle. It plays out as an underdog story with an underlying romance. The main goal of this film is to showcase the live dubbing of films, which is interesting to learn about, at the very least.

What did you think of Once Upon A Star? Comment below.

Additional reading:

  • Once Upon A Star Ending Explained

Movie Reviews, Movies, Netflix, Streaming Service